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The Golden Mare, the Firebird, and the Magic Ring Hardcover – April 1, 2001

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Grade Level: 3 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 770L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers; 1 edition (April 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316769061
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316769068
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.5 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,002,480 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Sanderson (The Crystal Mountain) draws from several Russian fairy tales to fashion a clever story about a well-intentioned young horseman, his magical mare and a greedy czar. The sumptuous oil paintings take immediate command of the double-page spreads, the sometimes breathtaking scenes distinguished by lustrous hues and intricate particulars. On a quest to seek his fortune "and perhaps to find an adventure or two as well," Alexi encounters a magnificent mare who pledges to serve the lad if he spares her life. The horse leads her new master to the palace of the czar, who hires Alexi as his horseman, yet is bitter that he cannot claim Alexi's imposing horse as his own. Disgruntled, the czar demands of the lad seemingly impossible tasks, among them capturing the elusive firebird and fetching a maiden from "a distant eastern land" to be the ruler's bride. The wise equine is the true hero of the story, valiantly coming to Alexi's rescue in each episode end eventually bringing about the not unexpected happy-ever-after d‚nouement. Sanderson's narrative has a lush, lyrical quality, and her renderings of lavish architectural detail, elaborate period dress and an unsullied natural world will bring youngsters back for repeat readings. Her dramatically lit firebird is nothing short of resplendent. Ages 8-up.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 3-5, younger for reading aloud. Sanderson includes elements from several Russian fairy tales in this colorful picture book for older readers. Alexi, a worthy young man, befriends the magical golden mare, who helps him meet the czar's increasingly unreasonable demands. Together they capture the elusive firebird, bring Yelena the Fair to the palace, and retrieve her magic ring. Alexi then helps Yelena work a bit of magic on the czar, who jumps into a cauldron of boiling water with the hope of becoming young again. He emerges as a baby, to be adopted by the new czar, Alexi, and his bride, Yelena. The pace never flags in this romantic adventure. Its mix of several traditional elements leads to an episodic structure and a rather long text; however, the story will hold readers' attention, though each folkloric element loses some of its dramatic force in this blended version. Rich in color and decorative detail, the oil paintings have a distinctly narrative quality that enhances the book . Carolyn Phelan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kotori on November 20, 2004
Format: Library Binding
A conglomeration of russian folk tales. Alexi the huntsman seeks his fortune & finds a job with the Tsar, along the way acquiring a magic horse, and at the end of his journey, a wondorous bride.

The illustrations are quality Sanderson, as always very factual and detailed, but probably her finest. I always find myself a little let down as her illustrations dont quite have the magic & mysterious quality of some other illustrators such as Kinuko Y Craft or Trina S. Hyman to name just two of the finest.

The story mangages to be quite interesting, in spite of the quest for the Firebird being such a familiar story, and in the end there is a lovely twist in revenge for the Tsar.

Quite good.

kotori ojadis@yahoo.com
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. Blankenship HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on March 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This work in a combination of old Russian tales retold by the author. They will be quite familiar to readers of such. They are certainly no worse for the wear in this retelling though as the author has done a wonderful job. The tales are the typical quest type, my favoriet genre. The real magic of this book though are the wonderful illustrations. The detail is almost magical and the colors are absolutely dazzling. I could pontificate somewhat in comparing comparing her work with other authors, but this is an absolute silly excercise as each artist should be judge on their own works and not those of others. I liked this work. The kids I read it to like it. It is informative, fun and a delight to see. What more could you want?
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Format: Hardcover
The story is based on Russian folklore involving the Golden Mare, the Firebird, and the Magic Ring and those familiar with the folklore will find this retelling to be quite fresh and interesting. A young huntsman, Alexi, is eager to find his fortune and place in the world, when he comes across a Golden Mare, who begs Alexi to spare her life in exchange for eternal loyalty. Alexi, together with the Mare, finds a position in the Tsar's palace as a skilled huntsman, but the Tsar is jealous of Alexi's bond with the Mare and tests Alexi's skills by giving him impossible tasks.

One of these tasks is capturing the prized and elusive Firebird, a mythical creature that is wondrous to behold. Another task given to Alexi is to capture the fair Yelena and bring her back as the Tsar's bride. Alexi finds his conscience pricking him in accomplishing these tasks for the cruel and selfish Tsar, and the story also has a unique twist towards the end which makes this a delightful read. The illustrations by author-illustrator Ruth Sanderson are beautiful, vivid and detailed. This will delight any fan of Russian fairy and folk tales.
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More About the Author

I loved two things the most when I was growing up - fairy tales and horses. And over the past 30-odd years I have been drawing and painting them both for the many books I have illustrated. I also love cats. My newest book is A CASTLE FULL OF CATS. Many of my fairy tales are now back in print, including THE TWELVE DANCING PRINCESSES, CINDERELLA, and THE SNOW PRINCESS. GOLDEN DREAMS, THE ART OF RUTH SANDERSON, an art book on my 40-year career as an illustrator, including my work for the Nancy Drew series, is available both through Amazon and my website. Visit www.ruthsanderson.com for the latest about my upcoming books.

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